Betting online on Spain? Better bet again. Still reigning champions -though not for very long- Spain have been knocked out the World Cup by Chile, with one game yet to go on the group stage. The Spaniards could break goal-scoring records in their last match versus Australia and they would still only amount to three pitiful points, when their tormentors The Netherlands and Chile already have six each, enough to secure their qualification to the next phase of the tournament. All that’s left for Spain now is a loser faces loser match against the socceroos.
A formerly formidable squad that also won 2012’s UEFA European Championship and went on a 35-gane winning streak between 2006 and 2009 has fallen into some hard times. What -or who- was the downfall of the soon to be ex-champions? Paradoxically, all fingers are right now pointed at the erstwhile hero and leader of the ‘Roja;’ a man whom his miraculous saves earned the nickname of Saint Iker. That’s right; it may be a cliché but it is nevertheless true: the higher they are the harder they fall. And none have fallen harder than Iker Casillas. If it’s any consolation, this time pride did not come before the fall; it’s tough to picture a more humble idol than Casillas.
If there is someone who is really to blame, though, that would have to be head coach Vicente del Bosque. Casillas’ lack of continuity didn’t stop del Bosque from making Iker the starting goalkeeper as well as the captain of the Spanish National Team. Whether he based this decision on Casillas’ leadership skills and overall legacy instead of on his current shape is beside the point now. Perhaps it was a personal choice rather than a professional one; del Bosque and Casillas did have a fruitful association during Real Madrid’s latest heyday, so nostalgia may have played a part as well. Still the situation called for an executive decision like the one Jurgen Klinsmann made regarding Landon Donovan -the difference being that del Bosque would have been right to at least bench Casillas. Well, those online betting aficionados who were rooting for Spain will have to find a new favorite; such is life.